MESA, AZ (3TV/CBS 5) - Finishing up cancer treatment is definitely cause for celebration. Around the internet, you may have seen emotional, inspirational videos of cancer patients ringing the "cancer-free bell" at their hospital after finishing treatments. But 5-year-old Lily Taylor of Mesa didn’t get to ring the bell after her last cancer treatment Friday because of COVID-19 restrictions.
“She deserves every bit of recognition,” her father Brad Taylor said. “She was the one that got up every morning and went through all the painful treatments. And we were just happy to be able to hold her hand through it."
Fortunately, Lily's grandfather, Al Taylor, has a special connection. He’s a former lieutenant with the Tempe Police Department. His old colleagues gathered together to bring more than 200 cars – including patrol cars and fire trucks – in a parade past the Taylors' home.
"It's a very special day anytime we can celebrate a young person like Lily and her last cancer treatment,“ Tempe Police Chief Sylvia Moir said.
“[It] makes my heart so full of joy, just to see so many people that want to come out and support her,” Lily’s mom Peggy said.
Lily told Arizona’s Family about her favorite part of the day. “When everybody cheered me on for me being done with cancer," she said.
The celebration didn’t end there. Lily got to cut the ribbon for "Lily’s Pad" in Tempe, a place meant to help immunocompromised kids. During Lily’s cancer treatment, her parents brainstormed the concept of a sanitary, safe place for kids to interact with other kids during cancer treatment without putting their health at risk. Kids are often stuck in isolation during chemotherapy.
“I can't wait to see this come to life, and get to see these kids have some fun despite what they're going through,” Peggy said.
The space was donated to the family’s foundation for 13 years by Coinless Laundry.
"The biggest thing was just having a safe haven for kids to be kids. For families to take a break from the horrible disease,” said Carmen Salgado, who represents Coinless Laundry.
It was another touching moment to mark the special day when Lily beat cancer.